An enjoyable workout plan can get you in tip-top shape.
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Whether you desire to lose weight or just lead a more active lifestyle, an effective workout plan can do the trick without taking up too much of your time. The plan you establish should cover all bases; it should include a warm-up, cool-down, cardiovascular exercise and strength training. This might sound like a lot, but with some clever planning, you can get the job done in just three days a week.
Warming Up and Cooling Down
Your workouts should always start with a warm-up. This can be five to 10 minutes of low-intensity cardio. For instance, if you plan on running, warm-up with a brisk walk, or if you plan on swimming laps, warm up by swimming at a slow pace. The warm-up raises your body temperature and reduces your risk of post-exercise soreness and injuries. At the end of your workouts, cool down your body in a similar manner and also add some light stretches to promote your flexibility.
Include Aerobic Exercise
Jogging, bicycling, rowing, swimming or using a stair climber or elliptical machine are effective forms of aerobic exercise, or cardio. On three days of the week, plan on doing 50 minutes of this type of exercise. At the end of the week, this will result in the 150 minutes of cardio that's recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To prevent boredom and to help you stick to your routine, find exercises that you enjoy and add variety by taking an aerobics class at the gym or by participating in sports, such as tennis or racquetball.
Schedule Strength Training
Chest presses, biceps curls, triceps extension, dips, reverse crunches, lunges, and squats are just some of the exercises you can include in your strength-training routine. Aim to work your major muscle groups -- the muscles of you hips, legs, arms, abdomen, shoulders, chest and back. The CDC recommends strength training on at least two days of the week. Always schedule strength training on nonconsecutive days so your muscles can recover between workouts. If you wish to exercise on consecutive days, avoid working the same muscles. For instance, work your upper body on one day and your lower body the next. Start with one set of eight to 12 repetitions per exercise, and as you get stronger, slowly add two more sets.
A Sample Plan
A three-day workout plan can include 50 minutes of cardio on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On two of these days, include a strength-training session of about 30 minutes. You can spread your workout over the day. For instance, do cardio in the morning and strength training at night, or vice versa. You can even split your cardio over the day and do 25 minutes in the morning and 25 minutes in the early evening. Create a plan that easily fits into your schedule so it becomes part of your lifestyle.